Blue Ridge Billy, Lois Lenski, J P Lippincott Company, 1946, 203 pp
This is the third book in Lois Lenski's American Regional Series. Billy Honeycutt lives in the far northwest corner of North Carolina near the Tennessee border. He is ten years old, living and working on the family farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The family grows chickens, corn and vegetables, but Billy's father can't stand being tied down to farming. He considers himself a hunter and logger, leaving most of the farm work to his wife and children. Billy is the second oldest of four children and likes music more than anything, but his father thinks musicians are lazy, unreliable people when it comes to all the hard work necessary to stay alive in the mountains.
The story follows Billy as he pursues his musical dreams and tries to get around his stern father. He finds allies in his mother (who comes from a fiddling family), Granny Trivett (a healer and herb gatherer who may be more than 100 years old and teaches Billy the old Scottish ballads), as well as his Uncle Pozy (who weaves baskets, plays the dulcimer and can cook a delicious roast possum.)
It is a wonderfully told story which brings to life the peoples and times of Southern mountain living in the early 20th century. Being a former folksinger and a fan of roots music, I loved getting this look at country life in the South, way before country music was cool.